Play time is so important for little ones. While playing freely, kids can learn how things work and glean tons of information about the world around them. Of course, structured play, crafts and activities are fun and provide educational value, too; but “free play” offers the best opportunity for your little one to learn.

One way to encourage learning is by providing some engaging, open-ended toys for your children to play with. Recent years have given rise to toys that seem to whirl, beep, light up and do all the “work” for kids. Toy store shelves feature plastic toys that do not require much engagement from children. But kids should have toys that they can manipulate and that put their imagination to use, instead of toys that behave more as electronic entertainment.

Don’t worry; there are so many wonderful toys out there that encourage creative thinking, problem solving and learning! We’ve pulled together a list of some great educational toys for children, just in time for your holiday shopping.

Exceptional Learning Toys For Toddlers

Magnetic Blocks
Blocks such as Magformers and Tegu blocks combine the power to build endless creations with the amazing power of magnets, which only ramps up the amount of building possibilities.Tegu Blocks

Play Dough
Squishy, mold-able play dough is a great way to not only develop toddlers’ fine motor skills but also allow them to create anything they can imagine, from dough pizzas, to animals, to buildings. Just give the kids enough space to make whatever they want, and play dough is an incredible tool for unleashing their

Marble Runs
Children can’t help but be fascinated by marble runs! They love sending marbles down the chute and watching as the twists and turns affect the marbles’ travels. Especially magical are marble runs that let children move the pieces and create new setups, putting the marbles on a unique path every time.the_challenger_2

It’s pretty exciting to watch how parts move together, and kids will love the idea of having control over that movement. Toys like Plan Toys Gears & Puzzles and Magformers Magnets In Motion are great examples of gear toys for children.plan_toys_gears___puzzles_deluxe

Stacking toys are a great way to develop hand-eye coordination, as well as offer lots of problem-solving opportunities for even the smallest of little ones.stackers_570_x_600_

Shape Sorters
Help your toddler learn to recognize shapes with one of our fantastic shape sorter toys. Plus, as he tries again and again to get the right shape into the right hole, he’s developing perseverance.shape_shaker_sort_fnl

Bead Maze
Hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and problem solving are all in the mix when children play with bead mazes. With Right Start’s wide variety of types and sizes, you are sure to find just the right one for your child.anatex_the_original_rollercoaster_1

Wooden Blocks
Good old-fashioned wooden blocks never go out of style — and for good reason! Wooden blocks offer endless play possibilities and encourage creative thinking, imagination, problem solving and patience.

What are your favorite educational toys for toddlers?

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